In October 2013. a group of young enthusiastic, several different religions and nations, together participated in training about reconciliation and fight against discrimination „Demilitarization and fight against discrimination“.

All participants had two things in common- they lived in Tuzla and they were gathered by then and now the strongest organization for youth- Youth resource center Tuzla.

Life in Bosnia and Herzegovina for a young person, without certain acquaintance, can often be extremely brutal. In this chase I’m not talking only about employment, which comes like cherry on the top, I’m talking about whole series of things which average young citizen of BiH comes across during education.

Even trough childhood of a young person it happens that he/she is put in a class in school not by choice while peers whos parents are influential get to choose their surroundings.

Similarly, in sports clubs, where the children of influential parents have an advantage over the others and so on. However, the worst form of discrimination in the life of a young BH citizen is in the moments when he/she is threatened or excluded from society just because it’s another religion or nation, or interprets the political situation in the country and the region in he’s own way.

     

In a society which 21 year since the end of war, where there are still noticeable aftereffects of horrific crimes, it is extremely brave to be a young person who strives toward reconciliation. It is somewhat incredible that in one European country, there are schools in which segregation rules legally, where students are physically separated with wire and walls from eachother.

The country where society doesn’t forgive marriages between different nationalities and calls for lynching and murder for same-sex marriages certainly is not a place where young people can normally mature and grow into healthy personalities. For this reason, we are extremely proud of all the peace work and efforts that our youth provides in recent years.

Upon completion of training, a group that has already been bound, thanks to the experienced guidance of coaches (Miralem Tursinovic and Jasmin Jasarevic), expressed the need to continue to meet, organize and start working on the issues that affect them all.

What came after October 2013.  is really worth every praise. Group that consisted of fifteen active members, mostly activists without previous experience in conducting informal organization, has managed to make very strong foundation for all the young people who will want to gather there together.

 

As I have pointed out above, young people who were eager for contacts and breaking down barriers began to gather in their “safe zone” on location Hadzi Bakirbega Tuzlica 1 and together plan activities that will connect young people in the city, the country and the region.

Behind our young members there is about 300 seminars and over 120 cities in which they got to meet their peers and share their experiences with them and influence together on all young people. We organized and participated in large number of events.  It is worth mentioning the Regional School of combating discrimination, which was held in Macedonia in Krusevo. During 10 days of intensive training, youth showed that they are only interested in future. What happened in past mustn’t influence new generations. Everyday work was very important for all our participants. After the end of summer school they were all built as leaders- motivated to change world around them.

Taught by this experience and with aim to do something big, our youth hosted youth event last year- International Youth Conference „There’s always a choice“, which gathered 150 participants and trainers in Tuzla- Participants and trainers were guests from neighbor countries, Germany and Italy.

 

Event  „Dealing with the past“ was followed by all important media from our country and our guests-participants were trilled by good organization of young people whos aim was to make their society more peaceful and stable for life of everyone who lives there.

Member of youth group YRC can be any person between 16 and 30 years no matter which religion, nationality, level of education, rase, political preferences or sexual orientation.

Group is opened for all young persons with open minds from our city whos aim is to learn, volunteer and improve themselves through community service. At the moment group has over 30 members. It’s very important to mention that the coordinator takes care of gender balance in the group in order to always maintain same or higher number of female members (we are aware how important this is for our society where women are one the most endangered social categories). All decisions are made democratically on group meetings which are held minimum two times in a month. The coordinator of the group, together with more experienced members constantly provides education, training and seminars for  all new members to help them meet their needs for training and to motivate them to change our society towards more positive one.

Author info

Slobodan Blagovčanin - Coordinates youth group YRC Tuzla successfully since its foundation. He is pedagogy-psychology student who likes to do community service in his free time-specially in field „Dealing with the past“ and „Human rights“. He's one of the few students in Bosnia and Herzegovina who decided after his high school to continue studies in the other entity in order to work and meet young people there with the purpose of reconciliation. (Even 21 years after the end of war these decisions are not approved by the society.) For its great achievements in this field of work he emphasizes the participation in the conference UNOY Peacebuilder network of the Hague, as well as an invitation to be the speaker on it next year. "We should be talking about the past to each other and that is the only right way towards reconciliation. If we're pushing things under the carpet, one day the carpet will not be able to walk on together. "

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